Finally, after a long break, I’ve prepared something for little girls. This tutorial was requested by Magda B., one of my favorite course participants – I can already imagine her screaming as soon as she sees this :). And since spring has finally come, I’ve used some light colours. I found those fabrics two weeks ago in Outlet Tkanin while leading a course, during which we were sewing oversized sweaters (tutorial here: LINK). One of the course participants (the youngest I’ve ever been teaching) chose that banana colored baby-sweat fabric. And I obviously couldn’t decide between choosing banana and lime colour, so I’ve sewed two dresses. The dress is easy to sew – even a beginner can do it. Let’s get it started!
If you want to make a print, depending on which technique you’ll be using, prepare:
The dimensions given below will be right for 110/116 size, but you can change each of them as you like.
1. Copy a pattern from the dress, basing on the T-shirt’s pattern copying intruction (LINK) – the top of the dress is actually the same like the T-shirt, just with long sleeves and deeper neckline. If you’re making a pattern from the t-shirt, you have to adjust it first. In the first step copy the pattern of half of the t shirt and sleeve basing on these instructions: T-SHIRT/ SWEATSHIRT– in the sweatshirt pattern making you can clearly see how to correct the sleeve’s cap shape. In the kid’s garments the shape of front and back armhole can be almost the same. In the sleeve, the front and back of the cap, can be a tiny bit different from each other- if that difference exists there, then remember, that the front of the sleeve is the one with a deeper bias in sleeve cap (in the picture above it’s the left half of the sleeve).
2. Make some corrections in the pattern:
3. Redraw corrected patterns adding a mirror image and dividing them into the front part (deeper neckline and armhole) and back part (narrower neckline and armhole). Measure the bottom (F = 32 cm). Prepare the flounce pattern- it’ll be a rectangle of width two times bigger than the t-shirt’s bottom, and of the height equal to the length of the flounce, which you are planning (I made a flounce of G = 20 cm). Cutout the flounce twice- for the back and the front part.
Cut all the pieces adding a 1 cm of seam allowance all around. Only at the bottom of sleeves and flounces add 2 cm for the fold – seam allowance is the dark grey outline in the picture above. Remember to draw the sleeve in the mirror image – left and right one. Cut out all the elements so that the fabric would stretch across.
Before you start sewing, you can add some extras to the dress – e.g. small allover-prints. The easisest way to make them, is by using a flex foil and ScaNcut plotter. You can make a stencil from the self-adhesive foil as well. I’ve prepared two types of prints: suits of a pack of cards and the Micki Mouse heads made from three circles. You can download them by clicking on this LINK – there’s a file with images in pdf, png, eps and svg format- ready to use in ScaNcut Canvas program.
If you’re using a self-adhesive foil, to make a pattern with fabric paints – make stencils by cuting out shapes in the foil with a knife, do it on the self-healing cutting mat. More about making prints with this technique in the post about printed T-shirt (LINK).
If you’re making prints with a flex foil – cut the graphic with a plotter, remove the unnecessary flex foil from the application tape, and cut the pattern into separate shapes. More about this technique in the post about oversized printed T-shirt (LINK).
Place the shapes on the dress pattern. I think that it would be easier to just strew them in the equal distances. In the beginning I was placing them symetrically, but then I’ve realised that creating small chaos looks way better. For the lime knitwear I’ve used the maxx flex foil in the Apple green 24 colour and the neon flex foil in the Neon Pink 28 colour (those are the colours from the store, which I’ve mentioned about in the beginning).
Set the iron on 170 Celsius degrees (a little bit lower temperature than for the cotton ironing) and press prints for 20 seconds in each point. Remove the transporting foil (application tape) when it’s still hot.
For the banana coloured knitwear I’ve used the flex foil in: Neon Green 27 and Neon Orange 30 colours- in the pictures the orange one looks soft, but in real it’s really neon.
So here we’ve got an unique knitwear in two colour options, with two different prints :) Now we can start sewing.
First gather the flounce. Prepare a bobbin with a thread in constrastive colour. Set the maximum length of the stitch on the machine (5,0), move the needle maximally to the right side (7,0) and set the upper thread on the low tension (between 3 and 1). Check the seam and the tension on the knitwear’s piece- the bottom thread should be pulling the upper one underneath, and there should appear some small loops- so that the tension of the bottom thread will be high, and what goes along with that- easy to pull out. Pull both of the threads 10 cm out of the machine. Start the seam without fastening ( without sewing backwards) about 2 cm from the edge of shorter rectangle’s side- so that there will be still a plain piece of fabric left after gathering. Sew through, along the longer side of the rectangle, right next to the upper edge.
Sew second time, in the exactly same way, in the distance of 0,5 – 1 cm from the first seam. At the end of the seam, near the right corner of the rectangle, pull out the underneath threads (in my case pink ones) and tie all four threads tight together- so that they won’t be coming out. Next to the left side start pulling out the underneath threads gently – it’ll make the fabric gather.
Pull out as many pink threads as it’s needed for the rectangle to wrinkle to the length of t-shirt’s bottom. Pull the outer threads underneath and tie all the of them together, to prevent the flounce from changing its width. Now spread the wrinkles on the whole flounce surface manually.
Between the two seams you’ve just made, the gathers are laying parallel one to another- if you did only one stitch, the gathers would be diverged radially from it and it’d be difficult to sew them on evenly to the t-shirt’s bottom. Prepare the overlock machine, lay the flounce on the t-shirt, so that they will match with their right sides. Pin the bottom edge of the t-shirt with a gathered edge of the flounce. Sew them together – sew in such a way, that the outer needle wil be punching between the flounce gathering stitches – where the gathers are laying parallel one to another. If you’re sewing on the regular machine, use a zig-zag stitch and sew exactly between the stitches on the flounce.
After sewing on the flounce, undo one of the stitches which gathers the flounce – the one which is visible outside. It’s the easiest to start with a tensed underneath thread. It will come out with one pull, and the one on the top will come itself.
Do the same thing with the back of the dress. Fold the back and front together, so that they’ll match with their right sides and sew them on the shoulders. Before sewing the sides, read about two ways of sewing on the sleeves in one of my previous posts (LINK), and pick a more suitable one for yourself. I sew the sleeves on, after sewing the sides.
Sew the sleeves. But before doing that, read about two ways of finishing them, which I’ll explain in next steps, and then pick the one you like more.
The first way of finishing the sleeves is to overcast their bottom at first, and then sew along the sleeve’s edge. But in this case you have to make the pattern very precisely, so that length of sleeves edges is equal.
The second way of finishing the sleeves, is to first sew the edge of the sleeve and then to overcast the bottom with overlock. Leave the sleeve on the wrong side and place the pressing foot inside of it. Sew all the way around. Finishing in this way will give you a chance to even the lenghts, in case there’s something moved during the sewing or cutting.
Match the sewed sleeves to the dress, so that you’ll sew the front sleeve’s part to the dresse’s front part (unless there’s no difference in sleeves’ caps). Leave the dress on the wrong side and turn the sleeves right side out. Slide the sleeves inside, making sure that the front of the dress matches with the front of the sleeves (so the deeper cut armohole will be sewn with the deeper cut sleeve’s cap). Pin the sleeve’s edges and armholes, placing pins inside of the sleeve.
Place the pressing foot inside of the sleeve while sewing.
If you have a coverlock machine then use it to finish the neckline, sleeves and the bottom. But if you have only an overlock or a regular machine, then follow the instructions below. Iron the edge of an overcasted with overlock ( or not overcasted at all) neckline with 0,5 cm to the inside. If you iron more of it, then the neckline will be sticking out afterwards. Sew through all around, very close to rolled edge ( further from the folded edge), so that it won’t be curling out. Roll up the sleeves with 1,5 cm and sew through here as well. If the neckline or sleeves are so tight , that they will be stretched while putting them on, then sew with a zig-zag stitch.
Finish the bottom in the same way you did the sleeves. You can sew with a regular stitch here, because this edge won’t be streched.
DONE! Spring light dresses are ready. I’m just wondering who I should gift them with :) Enjoy the sewing!
This sewing instruction was prepared for you by Janek
He was using Brother Innov-is 15 sewing machine, Brother 1034 D overlock, and Brother ScanNcut.